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The Last Mile Food Rescue Celebrates five million pounds of food being saved
Local non-profit celebrates saving five million pounds of food from being thrown out (WKRC)

WHITE OAK, Ohio (WKRC) - Another local non-profit is celebrating a big feat. The Last Mile Food Rescue has saved five million pounds of food from being thrown in the trash and ending up in landfills.

That amount is almost 4.7 million meals, to put things into perspective. The organization said none of this would be possible without volunteers.

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As soon as Paul Verhagen learned about the Last Mile Food Rescue two years ago, he knew he had to be a part of its mission as a volunteer.

"What inspired me to get involved was an article I read on Twitter one morning. I showed it to my wife and she said to me, 'Paul, this has your name all over it.' I signed up and that afternoon I did my first rescue," said volunteer Paul Verhagen.

Hundreds of rescues later, Verhagen, a retired grandfather, was sent to a pick up at UDF on Banning Road in White Oak.

Verhagen is one of about 800 volunteers who make the deliveries possible. Volunteers go everywhere from Great American Ball Park, Starbucks, Capital Grill, and beyond.

"This food that was being thrown away is now going to soup kitchens and pantries, shelters, daycare and senior centers, places this food can be used immediately to feed our community," said Last Mile Food Rescue CEO, Julie Shifman.

The organization has helped solve food insecurity for nearly 300,000 people, including about 80,000 kids, in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

One of those places is Tikkun Farms, where Tess Balsey leads the Nourishing Families Food Program. It allows all people to come and gather food at the pantry three days a week, no questions asked.

Balsey said their mission wouldn't function at a high capacity without partners like Last Mile Food Rescue.

"They fill in a very important fragment in the food support network, so getting food from the sources to our doors and then out to families in need is a major issue. We would not have the time or energy to do that without the Last Mile," said Balsey.

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